Happy Halloween!

“Trick or treat!” My brother, sisters and I stood at a neighbor’s doorstep. My breath puffed tiny clouds as I eagerly awaited my treat. Would this bowl contain Butterfingers—perfect for trading with my brother—or Milky Ways? Or would it be a dud, filled with Smarties and Good & Plenty.

“And what are you?” the woman, silhouetted against the open door, asked.

“I’m a cheerleader!” I was frustrated at having to answer the same well-meaning question house after house. I had told my mom exactly what I wanted to dress as. A trip to St. Vincent de Paul netted a paneled skirt and Churchill High School cheer top. But I was bundled under a puffy coat, and sweatpants kept my legs warm. My mom had insisted I dress warmly, and no one could tell what my costume was.

I hauled my pillowcase to house after house, pulling in candy that my parents would dole out to our lunches, one piece a day, for weeks to come. I envied the other kids in their clearcut outfits and their plastic jack-o-lantern tubs. “Think of how much more candy you can carry in a pillowcase,” my mom would say, cheering us up.

We made or cobbled together our own costumes every year. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and sometimes I felt my cheeks burn at our makeshift outfits—especially when no one could tell what I was among the store-bought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and mermaid Ariels.

Ironically, for Edith’s first Halloween, I felt guilty buying a costume. Granted, it was from Value Village, but I felt as if I were cheating a little by throwing on a zip-up romper and calling her a ladybug.

I quickly got over my hangups when I saw how insanely cute she was as a ladybug.
I quickly got over my hangups when I saw how insanely cute she was as a ladybug.

I think I judged myself a little for not crafting her something fabulous to wear. After all, I designed and created all the Halloween costumes in the October issue of Parents a few years back; couldn’t I do a fraction of that for my own baby?

As fall progressed, though, I didn’t find the time—or rather I filled the spare moments I had with things like picking up the house, playing with my dog or watching The Walking Dead. (For shame!)

On Halloween, a few hours before we were meant to arrive at a friend’s party, I found myself pawing through my craft bin for my glue gun. While Edie napped I made a last-minute effort to dress us up as a family and we went to the party as a trio of pirates. Granted, the extent of the crafting was gluing a plastic heart to a shirt and sewing in Christmas garland for intestines (Eric didn’t want to be a regular pirate; he wanted to be a dead pirate); most of the pirate-ness came from props. I was happy to do something creative with my hands, though. It had been months since I pieced together from unlikely materials; it had been a while since I made something.

Pirate Edie got tangled in Papa Pirate's intestines. Oops!
Pirate Edie got tangled in Papa Pirate’s intestines. Oops!

We had a wonderful time. We ate too much candy and squealed every time a trick-or-treater rang the doorbell. Edie didn’t even protest over her skull and crossbones headscarf.

I’d call Halloween 2013 a success. It will be fun to see what Edith wants to be in the years to come. Maybe she’ll carry home candy in an orange pumpkin-shaped bucket or in a pillowcase. I’ll have to wait and see.

I hope to make her costumes in the future—but not because that’s what a good mother does; plenty of great moms score adorable outfits from the store. I want to make them because I enjoy it. It’s good for her to witness me losing myself in a project. When she sees me gaining the satisfaction of sewing scraps into a gorgeous outfit or gluing sequins just so, she will learn how satisfying pursuing a passion can be.

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